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Working with Words - creating a visual dialogue with Priscilla Edwards

Study Event Review OCA North: In person study event at Fletcher’s Mill, Halifax 4 November 2023

When OCA North students meet at Dean Clough Mills we always start in the café. Good coffee, great affordable food, and a chance to catch up. It was lovely that Priscilla Edwards, OCA textiles tutor and our teacher for this event, was able to join us. So the words started to flow in this informal setting before the workshop began.

As a group we come from many different disciplines, and at this session backgrounds of participants included painting, photography, drawing, creative arts and creative writing. We were challenged with words to deconstruct, reconstruct, rethink, and develop our own work, exploring our practice with the freedom that a good teacher hands to the student.

We began by choosing words to describe ourselves, and our practice. Though this made most fearful and shy at first, once Priscilla shared some of her own, it wasn’t long before lists were revealed and extended. We had all brought examples of our own work as photocopies and were next given the opportunity to tinker with it. Priscilla gave us random words to apply to our photographs, paintings, drawings, poems: e.g. SUSPEND, CUT, BIND, GATHER, TRAP, and encouraged us to play around with the new ideas that surfaced. We were then invited to take apart what we had put together and hand part of it to another student to meld and weave it into their own, using it as inspiration to expand or create something new.

The value of the afternoon for us was that these seeds that Priscilla gave prompted each of us to rethink our work, allowing us to consider it in a different light. One student commented,

“Making work and then looking to see if my words appeared within it was so revealing and a good way of assessing whether the work met my intentions, related to my research and was authentic to me.”

Hopefully this will lead us all down new pathways, to different ways of thinking and help to liberate our creative minds that sometimes get stuck, dancing around the same old clouds, waiting for the rain.

Thanks to Priscilla for her inspiration, and to Helen Jones, our OCA North rep for organising the event. It is wonderful to spend time and share thoughts and work with other shy and nervous creative types, all at different stages in our practice.

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